Sign prompts questions and sorts out road issue

By Carole Dennett May 24, 2024

A long-running row over the state of Newport Road, near the junction with Oxford Street in Northwood, has been resolved, thanks to the IW Observer.

To highlight what they regard as a public safety issue, Northwood Parish Council put up a sign blaming Southern Water for the condition of the road after sewer replacement works seven years ago. The sign, featuring the parish council’s logo, says “Bad road surface courtesy of Southern Water”. The IW Observer asked what was going on.

The council says the road surface poses significant risks to motorists, particularly those on two wheels or driving low-slung vehicles. The root of the problem, according to the council, is substandard reinstatement works by Southern Water after working on the sewer.

Cllr John Nicholson criticized the company for their long-running refusal to address the faults. He explained: “When it was done it was clear the work was substandard, but Southern Water argued, refusing to do anything about it; now they say the guarantee has run out and don’t want to know, despite the danger to the public.”

Now Island Roads has stepped in and will repair the road under the PFI contract at no additional cost to Island council-tax payers.

A spokesman said: “We have been monitoring the condition of this section of road and will be upgrading it this year, after the main holiday season.

“Utility companies have a legal right to make repairs. Island Roads cannot stop this taking place and would not seek to prevent the companies improving or repairing their vital infrastructure. Such utility work accounts for around two thirds of all work on the network.”

Cllr Nicholson welcomed the news. He said: “I’ve been trying to get this sorted since the problem first came to light with the support of the council leader, Cllr Phil Jordan. Once the IW Observer started asking questions it seems to have concentrated minds. It is great news for road users that it is going to be repaired.”

“However, no-one seems to check or hold utility companies to account properly. They close roads unnecessarily, perform subpar work, neglect to inform the public of their activities, and disregard their duty to conduct operations safely under Health and Safety legislation.”